Steven Smith (Image courtesy: Getty)
Steven Smith (Image courtesy: Getty)

Many of the Australian players have landed in South Africa to begin preparation for a four-Test series starting March 1. South Africa are currently locked in the limited-overs leg of the tour against India where they have been disappointing. However, South Africa won the Test series against India 2-1 and the win was achieved courtesy their pace attack that has Kagiso Rabada, Vernon Philander, Morne Morkel and Lungi Ngidi. Dale Steyn got injured during the first Test.

Meanwhile, Australia, despite their ODI drubbing against England, managed to reclaim The Ashes, winning the series 4-0.

Australian skipper Steven Smith is looking forward to the “fiery series” next month, what he sees will be a contest between two quality pace attacks.

“You love going up against the best bowlers in the world and South Africa have in particular, two guys with pace – Rabada and Morkel. They’re quality bowlers, along with Philander who challenges your defence consistently. The batters should be looking forward to this series – you love going up against those sort of challenges. I think it’s going to be a fantastic series for the viewers to watch,” Smith was quoted by Cricbuzz.

Australia lost 1-2 to South Africa when the latter toured them in 2016. The loss in the second Test at Hobart was termed by Smith as Australian cricket’s “low point”. Changes were made ahead of the Adelaide Test and Australia managed a consolation win.

Steven Smith-led Australia Test squad arrive in South Africa
Steven Smith-led Australia Test squad arrive in South Africa

“I think we’ve made some really good strides in the last year,” said Smith. “I thought we played some pretty good cricket in India without winning that series. We had moments where we could have won the series, and we were disappointed that we couldn’t convert those chances into wins. But we made good strides there. Obviously the summer back home was fantastic to win 4-0 (against England). This series is going to be another good challenge for us. Both fast bowling line-ups are really good so it’s going to be a nice fiery series for the batters and it might be tough work as well. So I think we’ve come a long way.”

On the South African pitches

South Africa dished out a spicy wicket at Newlands and ICC rated the Wanderers pitch as “poor”, and there came a point that the Test was on verge of being called off.

“We saw some of the wickets that looked quite difficult for the batters. For us it’s just about playing what’s in front of you, whether you’ve got a flat wicket or a green wicket that’s doing something. You’ve just got to adapt and do the job. That’s my message to the boys – you don’t know what you’re going to get in each Test at each venue, and it’s just about playing the way you need to for each set of conditions,” noted Smith, the No.1 Test batsman, who is feeling fresh after the short break.